Opening Day exiled to Wrigley Field


Alexander Aghayere

Halftime from the Sideline

By Copy Chief

It’s hard enough to catch a home run ball, and it’s even harder to catch one in the middle of a construction zone.

It’s too bad this is the inconvenient truth that is the Chicago Cubs—one disappointment after another … and another.

But there’s no need to attack the Cubs for a fault of the league. Major League Baseball scheduled them to play despite Wrigley Field still being under construction for Opening Day on April 5.

Although the Cubs are a historically significant team with an equally significant field and rivalry with the St. Louis Cardinals, the league should not have allowed the first game of the season to be played at an incomplete stadium.

Instead, the league could have scheduled the game to be at Busch Stadium, home of the Cardinals. As exciting as it is to have the first game of the MLB regular season played in my hometown, it is unfair to host a nationally televised event in Wrigley considering the particularly limited amount of available seats.

Still, the setting of any league’s opening day is sacred, and it is defamatory to the league to host the first game at Wrigley Field in its current state. After all, Cubs pitcher Jason Hammel said on April 1 that the stadium “looks like Baghdad, but you know there’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.”

Hammel was quick to apologize about his comment on Twitter the next day, saying he meant no disrespect at all, but it is with ease that the comparison to Baghdad, Iraq, could perpetuate the term “Chiraq.” And why? All because of the decision to show millions of Americans and MLB fans worldwide that Chicago’s beloved Wrigley Field is a mess.

It may be drastic, but people do judge books by their covers and stadiums by their cleanliness.

If hosting opening day in Chicago was necessary, then the league should have considered a Crosstown Classic at U.S. Cellular Field, home of the White Sox, the city’s winning baseball team.

Fans of the sport should not have had to dig their way into a dusty stadium to watch opening day at the home field of a team who has not made the playoffs since 2008.

If anything, the league opener should go to the winner of the previous season’s World Series. The team who won it all should get to metaphorically cut the ribbon.

It would be a different scenario if the construction zones were safe and fans could stand in the incomplete outfield and watch the game like they would in floor seats at a concert, but that is not the case.

Speaking of concerts, Fall Out Boy headlined the opening day live musical performance.

As if ignoring the field’s current situation, Pete Wentz, the Wilmette, Illinois-native band’s bassist, said the field has always been a magical place to him, according to a March 26 Chicago Sun-Times report. Indeed there is magic in the field. It takes some sort of black magic to keep fans in love with a team stuck in a 107-year (and counting) losing cycle.